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Norfolk library events help loneliness misery

Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with depression, high blood pressure and dementia, according to Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee.

Since Norfolk County Council launched its In Good Company campaign to tackle loneliness in the county, the library service has more than doubled the number of events it runs which are suitable for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

And from June 21-23 more than 20 council libraries will be hosting In Good Company events and activities as part of the national Great Get Together project.

It’s an approach which earlier this year drew the praise of Arts Council England which highlighted the way it was helping to build community cohesion and promote positive ways that people can connect with their neighbours – recognised nationally as the most important way of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information, said: “From afternoon teas, knit and natter and board games to colour me calm sessions and book groups, our regular programme of events encourages people to enjoy the company of others whilst taking part in a fun activity or simply chatting over a cuppa.

“For the Great Get Together weekend, we’ve incorporated some extra events into our programme, including Open Gardens at Blofield, Making Music Day at Aylsham, and a sing along and invitation to write a letter to an isolated person at Hunstanton.  We hope lots of people will come along and join – it’s a great way to connect with people and make new friends.”

The first Great Get Together took place last year.  It was the idea of the friends and family of murdered MP, Jo Cox, to mark the first anniversary of her death.  The event aims to bring friends, neighbours and communities together to celebrate everything they have in common.

Councillor Dewsbury added: “Loneliness is a major national issue and we know that it affects people of all ages.

“We are leading the way with our In Good Company campaign and recently announced £2.4m funding to tackle loneliness in the county.  Over the next three years we’ll be working with partner organisations to develop new and innovative ways of improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation in our communities.

“It’s great to see our libraries taking part in the Great Get Together again this year and offering such a varied range of events and activities to help to ensure that no one needs to spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.”

For more information about how you can get involved with In Good Company, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany

For events and activities in Norfolk County Council’s libraries visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries

For more information about the Great Get Together visit www.greatgettogether.org


 

Hellesdon Station to host open day

An open day to celebrate the restoration of the railway platform at Hellesdon Station will be held on Saturday June 30, from 10:30am-3:30pm.

The event is organised by Norfolk County Council’s Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail project.

Hellesdon Station can be found in the woods, just off Hellesdon Road, near the road bridge over the River Wensum.

Some car parking can be found at the Marlpit Arms and on Hellesdon Road. Follow this link to zoom to a Google map showing where the Open Day will be held.

There will be a range of activities for all ages, including:

  • Add the finishing touches to the restored platform. Organisers will be reinstalling an original concrete mile-marker, lovingly refurbished by Stuart McPherson of Norwich City Station Preservation Group/FONCS
  • To celebrate the launch of the new Norwich cycle map, join organisers for the first ride along one of Norwich’s new circular leisure cycle routes. They will be riding a 20 mile loop along Marriott’s Way to Attlebridge, returning back via Ringland and Costessey.
  • The ride starts at 11am from the main event at Hellesdon Station, and includes off-road and on-road surfaces. It would be suitable for any bike except road bikes.
  • Perfect for families, there will also be a short led ride along Marriott’s Way to the beautiful Gunton Lane Park with its woodland paths and shallow river – great for picnics and paddling. This will be at 2pm and will also be suitable for balance bikes.
  • There will be an area for balance bike training, led by Pushing Ahead, so bring along your little ones to get them confident on two wheels.
  • A Bioblitz will be running throughout the day with expert wildlife recorders to help you identify species you’ve spot. They’ll be creating a record of everything that’s been spotted.
  • The Marlpit Community Garden (Sustainable Living Initiative) will have a stall selling local produce and cakes, so remember your pennies.

.  Part of Marriott’s Way.

Hellesdon residents – do you want ‘western link’?

Hellesdon residents will be able to have their say about a possible “western link” to the new NDR route at a consultation event in the parish next month.

Norfolk County Council has begun a period of public consultation asking people whether they think a Norwich western link is necessary.

One of nine consultation events in the county will be held in Hellesdon Parish Office, near the community centre, on Tuesday June 26, from 10.30am-8pm. County council staff will be on hand to answer questions and there will be a chance to respond to the consultation in person.

Hellesdon Norfolk County Council representative Shelagh Gurney is encouraging local residents to visit the event.

“It is important that residents are able to participate in the consultation exercise and have their say,” she said. “There has been much favourable comment about the recently-opened NDR, Broadland Northway, with residents reporting the benefits of accessing the A47 when travelling to Great Yarmouth, Wroxham and north Norfolk in general.

“Now is the opportunity to decide whether or not the NDR traverses the Wensum Valley and joins up with the A47 at the Dereham Road end.  There will be a lot of research required and careful consideration of the environmental impact of such a road, but the benefits of reduced travelling times for emergency services, particularly ambulances wishing to access the Accident and Emergency services at the hospital, will mean that critical treatment can be accessed more expediently”.

The public consultation ends on July 3. You can find out more and respond to the consultation online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nwl

North Walsham’s Library 50th celebrations

North Walsham Library is ready to mark its 50th anniversary with a week of special events, children’s activities and celebrations.

And staff are keen to hear from any library users who have special memories of the building over the past half-century.

The distinctive building on New Road, in the shape of an eight-pointed star, cost £14,274 and was officially opened on May 23 1968.

It replaced a library service which had operated for many years in a former billiards room behind the King’s Arms pub in the town centre.

The new North Walsham library opened with a total 14,000 books including, for the first time, a children’s section with 2,000 titles. There was also a new reference section.

Two months after the opening, in July 1986, the North Walsham branch got its own mobile library vehicle to make four-weekly visits to surrounding north Norfolk villages. A van had previously operated from Norwich.

The new North Walsham librarian was Andrew Kett, who moved from Gloucestershire and his wife, Mrs R Kett, had responsibility for the mobile service with the driver/assistant Mr H Lester.

Full-time assistant to Mr Kett was Mrs Barbara Hankin and there were also three part-time assistants including Mrs Winnie Wallace, who did the job from 1950-1974, and Mrs E M Laws.

Within just a few weeks of the official opening adult membership was well over 3,000 and more than 460 children had joined.

The library was open from 10am daily except Sunday, closed for an hour every weekday lunchtime, and closed at 5pm except on Mondays and Thursdays – when it stayed open until 8pm – and Saturday which was a half day.

The building was officially opened by Mrs M A L Clifton Brown, chairman of the county council’s library committee, and special guests present included Mr J T E Jones, chairman of North Walsham Urban District Council, Dr F Lincoln Ralphs, county chief education officer, and Mr D P Mortlock, county librarian.

Other sites previously considered for the library had included part of the high school site on Park Avenue, and within the grounds of the council offices on New Road.

  • North Walsham’s most famous schoolboy, Horatio Nelson, will be remembered in music, word and song in a special talk as part of the library’s half-centenary celebrations.

“Norfolk Hero – The Songs of Lord Nelson, The Victory and Trafalgar” will start the week’s events on the afternoon of Saturday May 19.

Singers and musicians from the local folk scene will perform traditional ballads, broadsides and tunes as well as shanties, monologues, and contemporary poems and songs.

The two-hour talk, a world premiere, follows previous talks at the library on traditional singers Walter Pardon of Knapton, Harry Cox of Catfield, Sam Larner of Winterton and Peter Bellamy, of Norwich.

Tickets are £5, include refreshments, and are available now from the library.

A display of old photographs and newspaper cuttings relating to the library will be on show all week and staff hope to use old-style rubber stamps for issuing books as well as membership cards in “wooden coffins”.

Paul Cosham, who has been manager at the library for three years, is especially keen for users to contribute their special memories to the display. Anyone willing should speak to a member of staff.

A special “bounce and rhyme” party for young children is planned during the week and other ideas under consideration are a children’s dress-up event and a book sale.

On Wednesday May 23, the actual anniversary date, there will be a special celebration for former staff and invited guests including the new mayor of North Walsham, local county councillor Eric Seward, county library manager Jan Holden and area manager Kerry Murray.

Contact the library on (01692) 402482 or at north.walsham.lib@norfolk.gov.uk

The opening of North Walsham Library on May 23 1968.

 

 

 

 

Lord Nelson.

Bumpy landing at Sheringham

In a first for Norfolk’s Coast Path, a helicopter was drafted in today to airlift heavy materials up Beeston Bump in Sheringham.

The work is to enable vital improvements to be made to the path, which will make access to Norfolk’s highest point easier and repair the scarring that has occurred on the well known landscape feature.
Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Trails team has started preliminary work to repair the badly-rutted route which walkers currently have to navigate.

The new improved path will follow the same route as now but will help to prevent further wear and tear along the stretch of the National Trail.
The work, which has largely been funded by Natural England, is being carried out by Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Trails team. The helicopter was called in as it is the best way to lift the heavy aggregate needed with minimum impact on the SSSI feature.

Broadland householders facing council tax rise

 

Councillors at Broadland District Council have agreed a 4.3pc council tax rise, the equivalent of an extra £4.99 per year for an average Band D property.

Earlier this month Norfolk County Council agreed a 5.99pc rise in its share of council tax and a 5.5pc budget increase has also been approved for policing in the county during 2018-2019.

Broadland also increased its share of the council tax last year, following a  seven-year freeze.

“No one wants to see a rise in council tax. However, it is important that we are able to help those most in need and continue to maintain high quality services,” said councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Broadland’s portfolio holder for finance. “We have restricted our increase to £4.99 in order to achieve this, although I appreciate that residents will see a rise in other aspects of their bill.” 

The council will continue to look for other sources of income and, following the success of the Carrowbreck Meadow development, has recently secured help from central government for a new housing development in Great Plumstead through its company, Broadland Growth Ltd.

For the second year, residents will be receiving a Buy in Broadland discount voucher booklet with their council tax bills. Designed to support local business, the voucher booklet will provide residents with 96 different discounts and offers for Broadland businesses, giving them the chance to discover new places to enjoy and perhaps rediscover some old favourites.

The council tax rise will be included in bills for 2018/19 which residents will be receiving in the coming weeks.

 


 

Coltishall/Sheringham smashes on ungritted roads

Car smashes in Sheringham and Coltishall in icy conditions this morning (Friday January 26) were among dozens of collisions after Norfolk County Council failed to grit roads.

Two people were taken to hospital after the two crashes which were among 37 reported to Norfolk police this morning.

The council says its forecasting service did not predict there would be a freeze but says the gritters will be out tonight across Norfolk, from 7pm, with more sub-zero temperatures predicted.

This morning’s road chaos followed a light-hearted tweet yesterday from Norfolk County Council which said: “The sun has got its hat on, the weather’s mild and bright, the sun has got its hat on, there’s no gritting tonight.”

But in fact temperatures took a steep plunge overnight. Among smashes was a three-vehicle accident at 7.15am on the A149 Weybourne Road, Sheringham, involving a Ford Transit van, and Vauxhall Astra and Toyota IQ cars which blocked the road until just before 11am.

A woman was treated for back pain by an East of England Ambulance Service Trust crew and taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for further treatment.

Earlier, just before 7am, emergency services were called to the B1354 Wroxham Road, Coltishall, where a red Renault Megane had left the road.

A man in his 20s was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich by ambulance suffering hip and head pain. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening.

A county council spokesman said: “We buy a weather forecast service from a specialist provider which we use to inform our decision on whether to grit, and also where and when.

“While it’s usually very accurate, the forecast for last night suggested road temperatures would not dip below freezing, so on this occasion we unfortunately didn’t have the information needed to send the gritters out. We’re sorry if some people experienced difficult journeys this morning.”

Earlier this afternoon the council tweeted: “Freezing temperatures forecast across the board tonight so the gritters will be going out on all county gritting routes – that’s more than a third of the county’s roads – at 7pm”.


 

One-off chance to cycle un-opened NDR

For one day only, cyclists are being invited to explore the westernmost sections of the A1270 Norwich Northern Distributor Road before they are opened to traffic.

The new dual carriageway is nearing completion between the A1067 Fakenham Road and the Drayton Lane roundabout, and these stretches will be open to cyclists from 10am to 4pm on Sunday  October 29 as part of the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival. These sections of road, and Drayton Lane to A140 Cromer Road, are expected to be opened to traffic in November, provided good progress is maintained on the major A1270/A140 junction.

Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “We are very pleased to give local people a chance to see the road before it’s open to general traffic, and to explore the new cycle-ways and links to Marriott’s Way and communities such as Horsford and Thorpe Marriott.

“This will be a one-off opportunity to ride on a traffic-free main carriageway, but maintaining and improving permanent cycle links is an essential part of the project. Once the whole NDR is finished, it will still be possible to use new and existing paths and quiet lanes to get from Fakenham Road to Postwick without setting foot or bicycle wheel on the road itself.”

Volunteers from main contractor Balfour Beatty, and from Norfolk County Council’s NDR and  ‘Pushing Ahead’  teams will be joined by others to provide supervision at key locations, including the Fir Covert Road and Reepham Road roundabouts, where cyclists will have to crossing live traffic.

John Birchall, NDR public liaison officer, said there had been many requests to run or cycle on the main carriageway before it opens to vehicles. “The 29th is primarily a family cycling event, and explorers will be able to decide for themselves how much of the three miles of dual carriageway or connected paths they ride. We are aiming to focus on runners when the last sections of the route, north of Postwick, are nearing completion next spring.”

Access on and off the NDR itself will be at the Fakenham Road, Fir Covert Road, Reepham Road and Drayton Lane roundabouts, but people coming from further afield will be able to park at the site compound off New Drayton Lane (NR10 3AN). Marriott’s Way also connects to the new cycle paths along the NDR, but is less suitable for road bikes. A leaflet and plan can be downloaded from the Pushing Ahead website.

 Photo: Pashley